WARNING: The following is supposed to be satirical. Serious things appear on the next page.
With 6 weeks left of 2014, it seems to me the Game of the Year race is wide open. There’s another Madden Warfare; Borderlands 2.5 is a disappointment; Dark Souls II isn’t accessible enough for the non-gamers in gaming media to assess if it is any good; World of Warcraft hasn’t been a game since late 2008; and no one is talking about The Binding of Isaac: Rebirth. I think I can make a game in the last 6 weeks of 2014 to thrust myself into the discussion for Game of the Year. After all, E.T. was developed in 5.5 weeks, and it was one of the best games of 1982.
Given the lack of development time left, my game is going to have to be light on mechanics and development, so Twine is going to be my saving grace. I can’t go back to the well and make another Stationary Rainbow Cube Simulator to go for that 10/10 Polygon review. I need something to stave off all –ism and –ist based criticisms. I’ll make the protagonist transgendered, and make sure s/he is rainbow colored to show support for the rest of the LGBTQ community. To stay away from feminist critique and sexism based criticisms, I think I’ll stay away from making the protagonist human. I know exactly what to do! I need to relate to the people who are active contributors and commenters on websites like The Verge, The Mary Sue, Salon, Jezebel, Kotaku, and RPS. What about an artichoke? It’s a vegetable—technically, it’s a thistle, but why let facts and data get in the way of the push for GotY—and the wild version has a similar taste to the attitudes of average denizens of fake geek and gamer conclave sites: Both are bitter.
I’m also going to need a narrative, and someone to write it. For a narrative, I want something uniquely feminist, so to not fall back on my privilege of running the patriarchy. Something that women the world over can sympathize with. I want to explore the plight of being young and female in this big, scary world…I GOT IT!
My game is going to be a Choose Your Own Adventure ebook about not crapping yourself while twerking! Not only is it something women can relate to, but also when I literally sell this story to Mattie Brice, Jenn Frank, Samantha Allen, and Patricia Hernandez, I can use “Inspired by True Events” to give the narrative that much more oomph. Not only that, I can capitalize on the (un)timely death of R.A. Montgomery by doing a whirlwind media tour about how CYOA books should have been games all along. Bring on MSNBC and The NY Times!
I can’t write this narrative myself, as I need to spend most of my time selling this game to the media. Hopefully, the chimpanzees that wrote the Collected Works of Shakespeare are available, so I’m going to commission them to write the narrative. I’m confident they can get the job done in less than 6 weeks. The narrative doesn’t have to be complex, lengthy, or of particularly high quality, seeing as the game is hitting all the correct diversity notes, and I’m going to be selling the hell out of it to the games media. Imagine this for a second: having the first non-game written by a non-game-developer protected by a cabal of games media will be chicken sh*t social justice compared to the first non-game made by a non-game-developer written by non-humans. I’m even going to create aTumblr specifically to invent a new –ism designed to shame my competition, speciesism! No one in gaming will be able to compete with my species diversity. More on that in a second.
While the chimpanzees are busy crafting the narrative for my game, I’ll be off guaranteeing I get the coverage I need to win GotY. I’ve already contributed to the Patreons of Mattie Brice and Jenn Frank. I’m thinking contributing 100 bucks per month to the latter should be enough to buy a “coming out of retirement…again” party and mentioning my game. I should already have Mattie’s unconditional support since there’s a total of 0 men in my game. I’ve sent emails to all the big gaming web sites; however, most of them keep mentioning that if I want coverage, I have to gargle Muscle Milk. I’m not entirely sure what gargling high protein shakes has to do with winning GotY, but what Ben, Steve, Christian, Kyle, and Devin want, they get. I can just see the reviews now…
This quirky independently developed Twine darling is a tour de force of indoctrinative storytelling. 10/10 –Ben Kuchera
I haven’t lived with or dated the developer of this game, but I can’t for the life of me figure out a way to tie this to rape. Given the mental gymnastics I had to do to be able to assassinate Microsoft at E3 2013, that’s saying something. 10/10 –Patricia Hernandez
I told everyone on my groupthink email list this game is going to be the Game of the Year, and Ben and I bullied everyone into saying the exact same thing. 10/10 – Kyle Orland via Kasey Johnston
With this kind of coverage, I can’t help but win Game of the Year for 2014. Once I have the award in hand, everyone will change the way they make video games forever. People will be desperate to increase their diversity quotient 10 fold. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that once I win GotY, every developer from the San Fran indie elitist to the biggest AAA development houses will be scouring the Earth looking for the DNA of homo erectus so they can clone them, a la Jurassic Park, to make sure they can’t be destroyed by the same people who took away the greatest moment of a scientist’s career based only on the shirt he was wearing…
Wait a second. I just made you read a thousand words, and then said “homo erectus”. Yup, long con for a dick joke.
OK, serious stuff starts now.
GotY: An Isaac Inquisition
It’s strange to me that Rebirth released and no one in the gaming press is talking about it. If you were to go looking at Metacritic, the only review you’d see is one from Destructoid who gave it a perfect score. None of the other Metacritic listed sites have weighed in on the game.
I suppose the easy answer is that Rebirth is a remake of a game made 3 years ago. It’s an easy answer, but it is an ignorant one. The original The Binding of Isaac was a technical masterpiece, if for no other reason than it demonstrated the limits of what a developer could do with flash. Setting the technical bits aside, it also happens to be supremely fun, and for crotchety old gamers like myself, it is a throwback to the days of yore when the difference between champ and chump meant more than the punchline to a bad joke on Badass Digest or The Mary Sue.
Rebirth, released this month, sheds the limitations of flash, and it shows. Rebirth is demonstrably better in every measurable capacity. Given the quality of the original, it stands to reason that a remake that is better in every way should be making waves in the GotY discussion.
I’m not suggesting that Rebirth win without consideration for the rest of the possible entrants. It just doesn’t seem like Isaac is getting a fair shake. This seems perplexing, especially considering sites like Kotaku bend over backwards to find “interesting stories” as Steven Totillo put it to TB not all that long ago.
I wonder if that has to do with Edmund McMillen speaking out against the voting process for the IGF. McMillen’s statements about what Phil Fish and Brian Crecente told him about Super Meat Boy would lead one to believe the IGF is more fixed than an episode of Saturday Night’s Main Event; an assertion that at least circumstantially was confirmed by information gleaned from Polytron. Further, at least night games curation at Indiecade is corrupt as well, leaving very few places in the gaming landscape for independent game developers to get exposure for their games that could mean the difference between survival and death for independent game developer.
So I’m confounded by the usual suspects not talking about Rebirth at all. The independent games scene needs a shot in the arm provided by the adults in the gaming industry. Here’s the perfect opportunity to pump nothing but positivity into the independent games scene by talking up a great independent game. Why no one is taking Rebirth seriously is beyond me.